The imageboard 8chan is now known as the website where mass killers in New Zealand and El Paso shared their racist ideologies, but it didn’t start that way. It began as a haven for free speech — or at least that’s what its founder believed it to be.
Fredrick Brennan created 8chan in 2013, when he was 19. It was a lot like 4chan, another imageboard created by another teenager 10 years earlier, but it allowed users even more freedom.
The original premise for both was simple: Users could upload photos while others commented with text or images of their own. Everyone was anonymous. Posts were deleted after a few days. The effect was that no single user could become famous. Everyone had equal power.
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